Lesson 27: ~ How To Say ‘While’ In Japanese Using ながら、

So far, you have learned how to use the present progressive tense, aka the ている form. But in this lesson, we are going to step it up a notch by learning how to say while in Japanese. This grammar conjugation is referred to as ながら.

Conjugating Verbs To Use ながら

Luckily for you guys, this verb form is quite easy. The general rule of thumb is Verb-ます stem + ながら. However, there are still a few instances where this conjugation can be a little bit deceiving. Let’s go over it some more by separating its forms in verb groups.


As mentioned before, all you need to do to use ながら is to use the verb stem. In other words, cut off the る and add ながら。

Here are some examples of this verb form in action.


る Verbs Stem Form ながら
食べる 食べ たべながら
見る 見ながら
伝える 伝え 伝えながら
開ける 開けながら 開けながら




IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that ながら always goes with a verb and shouldn’t stand by itself at any given moment in time.




う Verbs are in the same category, but since the stem of う verbs isn’t syllabic like those of る verbs, usually another character is needed to fill in the gap before making a conjugation.

Here are some examples of this verb form in action in うverbs


う Verbs Stem Form ながら
書く かk 書きながら
歩く あるk 歩きながら
買う 買いながら
踊る 踊r 踊りながら


As you can see I left some characters in romaji because that is where the stem ends. I just did this to show you that you must be careful using conjugating うverbs with ながら. However, if it is one thing you can always count on when dealing with うverbs, it’s the use of いなが. Just remember to drop the うbefore you do anything though.

Irregular Verbs

Using ながらwith irregular verbs is a common way of expressing “while doing something” in Japanese. The conjugations are simple, so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem when dealing with them.


The most important irregular verbs you ought to pay attention to are:

する(to do)


来る (to come)


With their conjugations being:

する―→ しながら

来るー→ 来ながら


When to use ながら

Think of ながら as a more advanced form of ている. Yes, its used to describe the present progressive tense, but it also used to describe actions done at the SAME time. This is the main distinction between the two. Here are some examples to further explain its usage:



While I was walking, I dropped my food.


While using the computer, I was also on the phone.


While singing, I lost my voice.


While studying, I was listening to music.

Okay, so you see just how useful this little particle/ grammar point can be right? Once again, use it to describe simultaneous actions in either the past, present or future. Let’s put what you’ve just learned to the test in a short homework assignment. 頑張って 皆さん。


Conjugate the following verbs using ながら

  1. 食(た)べる
  2. 飲(の)む
  3. 歩(ある)く
  4. 泳(およ)ぐ
  5. 読(よ)む
  6. 歌(うた)う
  7. 死(し)ぬ
  8. する
  9. くる
  10. 見(み)る
  11. 掃除(そうじ)する
  12. 聴く


Answer Key


  1. 食(た)べながら
  2. 飲(の)みながら
  3. 歩(ある)きながら
  4. 泳(およ)ぎながら
  5. 読(よ)みながら
  6. 歌(うた)いながら
  7. 死(し)にながら
  8. しながら
  9. きながら
  10. 見(み)ながら
  11. 掃除(そうじ)しながら
  12. 聴きながら



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *